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Opting Out of Social Security and Adverse Selection

Author

Listed:
  • Laurence J. Kotlikoff
  • Kent A. Smetters
  • Jan Walliser

Abstract

This paper compares two general methods of privatization social security: forced participation in the new privatized system vs. letting people choose between the new system or staying in social security (i.e., opting out). Simulations are performed using a large scale perfect-foresight OLG simulation model that incorporates both intra-generational and inter-generational heterogeneity. The decision of any agent to opt out is endogenous and depends on the opting out decisions of all other agents vis-…-vis factor prices. Various tax bases are considered in financing the transition path, as well as the perceived tax-benefit linkage due to the informational problems inherent in many social security systems. We consider two cases: full and no perception Both methods of privatizing social security lead to large long- run gains for all lifetime income classes despite the intra-generational progressivity of social security, but differ in their short run effects due to adverse selection associated with opting out. Adverse selection is a key reason why many economists oppose opting out and why many plans to privatize social security systems mandate participation. This paper, however, shows this wisdom to be wide of the mark. Opting out is better at protecting the welfare of the initial elderly, even though forced participation protects their real value of social security benefits because opting out continues to collect payroll tax revenue from those who stay with social security. Opting out can mean quicker transition paths by reducing social security wealth faster than forced participation, because many will forfeit their accrued claims as the price of opting out. Yet opting out, along with a decrease in the payroll tax rate is better at shifting the burden to future workers who benefit from privatization.

Suggested Citation

  • Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Kent A. Smetters & Jan Walliser, 1998. "Opting Out of Social Security and Adverse Selection," NBER Working Papers 6430, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6430
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1996. "Privatization of Social Security: How It Works and Why It Matters," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 10, pages 1-32 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1998. "Privatizing Social Security: First-Round Effects of a Generic, Voluntary, Privatized U.S. Social Security System," NBER Chapters,in: Privatizing Social Security, pages 313-361 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kaygusuz, Remzi, 2015. "Social security and two-earner households," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 163-178.
    2. Anja Deelen, 2005. "Adverse selection in disability insurance; empirical evidence for Dutch firms," CPB Discussion Paper 46, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    3. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/eu4vqp9ompqllr09hai2o91j4 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Vincent Touzé, 2010. "Le système de retraite américain : impact de la crise et tendances de long terme," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2010-27, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    5. Robert Fenge & Jakob von Weizsäcker, 1999. "To what Extent are Public Pensions Pareto-improving? On the Interaction of Means Tested Basic Income and Public Pensions," CESifo Working Paper Series 197, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Gérard Cornilleau & Catherine Mathieu & Henri Sterdyniak & Vincent Touzé, 2010. "Les réformes des retraites en Europe dans la crise," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2010-17, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
    7. Robert Fenge & Jakob Weizsäcker, 2001. "Compulsory Savings: Efficiency and Redistribution On the Interaction of Means Tested Basic Income and Public Pensions," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 8(4), pages 637-652, August.
    8. Richard Disney & Robert Palacios & Edward Whitehouse, 1999. "Individual choice of pension arrangement as a pension reform strategy," IFS Working Papers W99/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    9. Cerda, Rodrigo A., 2008. "The Chilean pension reform: A model to follow?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 541-558.
    10. Disney, Richard & Whitehouse, Edward, 1992. "The personal pensions stampede," MPRA Paper 10476, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Susanne Pech, 2004. "Tax Incentives for Private Life Annuities and the Social Security Reform: Effects on Consumption and on Adverse Selection," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 60(4), pages 556-556, December.
    12. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 2002. "The New Social Security Commission Personal Accounts: Where Is the Investment Principal?," NBER Working Papers 9045, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Vincent Touzé, 2011. "Le financement des retraites aux États-Unis. Impact de la crise et tendances de long terme," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 0(3), pages 63-112.
    14. Ferreira, Sergio Guimarães, 2004. "Social Security Reforms under an Open Economy: The Brazilian Case," Revista Brasileira de Economia - RBE, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil), vol. 58(3), July.
    15. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/5l6uh8ogmqildh09h8492c58l is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Johanna Vásquez Velásquez & Karoll Gómez Portilla, 2004. "Selección adversa en el régimen contributivo de salud: el caso de la EPS de Susalud," BORRADORES DEL CIE 003489, UNIVERSIDAD DE ANTIOQUIA - CIE.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

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